previous next

[323] Society of Friends. A small storekeeper at Mount Holly,1 in New Jersey, a member of the Society, sold a negro woman, and requested the young man in his employ to make a bill of sale of her. On taking up his pen, the young clerk felt a sudden

1 Mount Holly is a village lying in the western part of the long, narrow township of Northampton, on Rancocas Creek, a tributary of the Delaware. In John Woolman's day it was almost entirely a settlement of Friends. A very few of the old houses with their quaint stoops or porches are left. That occupied by John Woolman was a small, plain, two-story structure, with two windows in each story in front, a four-barred fence inclosing the grounds, with the trees he planted and loved to cultivate. The house was not painted, but whitewashed. The name of the place is derived from the highest hill in the county, rising two hundred feet above the sea, and commanding a view of a rich and level country, of cleared farms and woodlands. Here, no doubt, John Woolman often walked under the shadow of its holly-trees, communing with nature and musing on the great themes of life and duty.

When the excellent Joseph Sturge was in this country, some thirty years ago, on his errand of humanity, he visited Mount Holly, and the house of Woolman, then standing. He describes it as a very ‘humble abode.’ But one person was then living in the town who had ever seen its venerated owner. This aged man stated that he was at Woolman's little farm in the season of harvest, when it was customary among farmers to kill a calf or sheep for the laborers. John Woolman, unwilling that the animal should be slowly bled to death, as the custom had been, and to spare it unnecessary suffering, had a smooth block of wood prepared to receive the neck of the creature, when a single blow terminated its existence. Nothing was more remarkable in the character of Woolman than his concern for the well-being and comfort of the brute creation. ‘What is religion’ asks the old Hindoo writer of the Vishnu Sarman. ‘Tenderness toward all creatures.’ Or, as Woolman expresses it, ‘Where the love of God is verily perfected, a tenderness towards all creatures made subject to our will is experienced, and a care felt that we do not lessen that sweetness of life in the animal creation which the Creator intends for them under our government.’

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
John Woolman (8)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: